This week I had the opportunity to meet with a very inspiring 16 year old and help her write her first resume.  A big focus of our time together was discussing volunteer work, both hers and mine.

Sofia (not her real name) is much more than an average high school Junior.  With plans to be the first person in her family to graduate from high school, Sofia currently juggles her school schedule (including Advanced Placement courses) and a near-full time job helping babysit her five young nephews.  As if she wasn’t busy enough, Sofia and I got together because she wants to add formal employment to her resume as she starts to shift her attention to preparing for college.

Sofia and I met through Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego.  She has a “Big Sister” and I volunteer as a “Big Brother”.  As we discussed volunteer work, she expressed that she didn’t think her own volunteer efforts were worth adding to her resume.  (Yes, she is a full-time student, works every day AND volunteers!)

I have thought a lot about my meeting with Sofia and wanted to share a few notes about it.

1-If Sofia can find the time to make a positive impact in her community, we all can!

2-Volunteer, and list that volunteer work on your resume.  It DOES make a difference.  A recent study by The Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that promotes volunteerism, tracked more than 70,000 jobless people between 2002 and 2012 and found that those who volunteered had a 27% better chance of finding a job than those who didn’t.

3-Don’t sell yourself short: keep an open mind about what constitutes volunteer work.  Sofia told me about a school committee she volunteers for that works to keep her campus clean and trash free.  In the same breath she told me about this committee, she told me that she doesn’t have any volunteer work to talk about.  I am glad we discussed this because it DEFINITELY reflects well on her and future employers will value it.

I am feeling very positive and encouraged by my time with Sofia.  I encourage everyone to try and find the time to volunteer.  And of course once you do, list it on your resume!

Elite Resume Partners can help you incorporate these efforts into your resume and your interviews.